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FCA-Renault deal hopes aid European shares

( ) – Strong Chinese export data and the U.S.-Mexico deal to avoid new import tariffs bolstered the mood on European stock markets on Monday, while car company shares also got a lift from signs of moves to revive Fiat-Chrysler and Renault’s merger.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index rose 0.4% by 0805 GMT, with trading volumes thinned out by the Whit Monday holiday in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and most Nordic countries.

The auto sector gained 0.5% on signs that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Renault SA were looking for ways to resuscitate their collapsed merger plan and secure the approval of Nissan Motor Co.

Fiat Chrysler and Renault’s shares were both up about 2% after sources close to the companies told they were back in discussions on ways to revive the deal.

“We believe it is too early to talk about negotiations being re-opened,” Equita analyst Emanuele Gallazzi wrote in a note.

“Today’s news together with the hypotheses discussed in various press sources relating to alternative scenarios for FCA, including GM, Hyundai and Geely, keep high the speculative appeal of the stock.”

President Donald Trump on Friday retreated on last month’s shock threat of a 5% import tariff on all Mexican goods in exchange for moves on immigration, providing relief to investors worried that a second major U.S. trade dispute would drive the globa上海夜生活网l economy into recession.

“Markets are blowing small celebratory bubbles this morning,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China still lingered, with Group of 20 finance leaders saying that trade and geopolitical tensions have raised risks to improving global growth while stopping short of calling for a resolution of the conflict.

Adding to gains was some residual buying after weak U.S. nonfarm payrolls data on Friday that spurred hopes of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates.

Concerns over the pace of growth in the world’s major economies drove a nearly 6% fall in European stock markets in May, their worst month in more than two years, but have been countered since by hopes of new stimulus from central banks to head off the threat.

Among other stocks, BAE Systems gained 1% on hopes of further deal making in the aerospace and defense space after United Technologies Corp agreed on Sunday to combine its aerospace business with U.S. contractor Raytheon Co, in what would be the sector’s biggest ever merger.

Thomas Cook’s shares jumped 15% after a report that Hong Kong’s Fosun Tourism was in talks to buy its tour operating business as the British group faces breakup after issuing three profit warnings in the past year.

Ferguson Plc fell 4% after the British plumbing products distributor’s third quarter revenue missed analysts’ estimates.

U.S. FCC chairman plans fast-track repeal of net neutrality: sources

WASHINGTON ( ) – The chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is moving quickly to replace the Obama administration’s landmark net neutrality rules and wants internet service providers to voluntarily agree to maintain an open internet, three sources briefed on the meeting said Thursday.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump, met on Tuesday with major telecommunications trade groups to discuss his preliminary plan to reverse the rules, the sources said.

The FCC declined to comment but Pai previously said he is committed to ensuring an open internet but feels net neutrality was a mistake.

The rules approved by the FCC under Democratic President Barack Obama in early 2015 prohibited broadband providers from giving or selling access to speedy internet, essentially a “fast lane”, to certain internet services over others. As part of that change, the FCC reclassified internet service providers much like utilities.

Pai wants to overturn that reclassification, but wants internet providers to voluntarily agree to not obstruct or slow consumer access to web content, two officials said late Tuesday.

The officials briefed on the meeting said Pai suggested companies commit in writing to open internet principles and including them in their terms of service, which would make them binding.

It is unclear if regulators could legally compel internet providers to adopt open internet principles without existing net neutrality rules.

As part of that move, the Federal Trade Commission would assume oversight of ensuring compliance.

Three sources said Pai plans to unveil his proposal to overturn the rules as early as late April and it could face an initial vote in May or June.

Internet providers like AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp have argued net neutrality rules would make it harder to manage internet traffic and investment in additional capacity less likely. Websites worry that without the rules they might lose access to customers.

AT&T and major trade groups sued the FCC in 2015 over the net neutrality rules.

Democrats and privacy advocates say net neutrality is crucial to keeping the internet open.

Pai in December predicted that net neutrality’s days were numbered. He told in February he believes “in a free and open internet and the only question is what regulatory framework best secures that.”

Pai and congressional Republicans have moved quickly to dismantle Obama-era telecommunications rules.

Trump on Monday signed a repeal of Obama-上海夜生活论坛era broadband privacy rules a victory for internet service providers and a blow to privacy advocates.

Politico Pro reported some details of the meeting with trade groups on Thursday.

‘Go to hell!’ A divided America struggles to heal after ugly election

(Editors note: Attention to language in paragraph 30 that may be offensive to some readers)

By Jason Szep

ELLSWORTH, Maine ( ) – “He lies,” huffed Janet Foster.

“And he’s a dirty old man,” chimed in her sister Jean as they discussed Donald Trump’s flaws a few days before he was elected the new president of the United States.

“Well, I am with him,” their brother Paul, 60, interjected, raising his voice over snacks of cheese, muffins and crackers in the family’s living room. “Hillary Clinton is like a puppet – you know it’s all scripted.”

The 2016 U.S. election was unprecedented in the way it turned Americans against each other, according to dozens of interviews in rural United States and across some of the most politically charged battleground states.

It divided families like the Fosters in rural Ellsworth, Maine, broke up friendships and turned neighbor against neighbor.

In a recent /Ipsos survey, 15 percent of respondents said they had stopped talking to a family member or close friend as a result of the election. For Democrats, this shoots up to 23 percent, compared to 10 perce上海夜生活论坛nt for Republicans. And 12 percent had ended a relationship because of it.

There was no comparative polling data from previous elections. But interviews with relationship counselors and voters suggest this election stood out by summoning passions, anger and a divisiveness in ways that will make healing difficult after Clinton’s loss to Trump on Tuesday.

Sarah Guth, a Democrat in Colorado, says her father – an ardent supporter of Trump – no longer speaks with her after they clashed on Facebook over their political views.

“He crossed a line,” she said.

After attending a Trump rally, Guth wrote on Facebook that she saw 10 minorities among thousands of people. “I’m increasingly convinced that this election is about race,” she wrote. “I mean a fear among the white majority that their rule is coming to an end.”

Some posters told her “to go to hell,” she recalled in an interview. “And then my dad very publicly attacked me, telling me that I should be ashamed of myself.” The two have not spoken since.

Ty Turner-Bond, a 35-year-old black man in North Carolina, says he lost friends because of his support for Trump. Some called him an “Uncle Tom,” a slur for African Americans accused of deferring to white people; others threatened violence.

“PEOPLE ARE TENSE”

In Springfield, a city on Ohio’s Mad River, Duke Level, 57, voted for Trump because he wanted “a wrecking ball” to hit Washington. The owner of Un Mundo Cafe isn’t surprised this election created divisions, and he fears they could get worse.

“This is one of those crossroads crisis moments in history,” he said.

Hours earlier, Trump rallied about 5,000 supporters a few miles away in a dirt-floored livestock arena. He blasted Clinton as “the most corrupt person ever to seek the office of the presidency,” drawing chants of “lock her up,” as well as a few of “string her up.”

Down the street, Richard Scott, 51, an African-American supporting Clinton, shook his head when told of those chants. Those words, he said, recalled 20th Century lynchings of black Americans – including in Springfield where a black prisoner was shot and hung from a pole on Main Street in 1904.

“It’s terrible,” he said.

Weeks ago, he planted a Clinton sign in his yard. His neighbors put up Trump signs. Outside the funeral home he owns, a pro-Clinton sign was defaced with a “Hillary for Prison” sticker. “People are tense,” said Scott.

The election hardened an already-clear racial divide in the former industrial city of 60,000 people – a snapshot of America at about 75 percent white and 18 percent black. Interviews with residents suggested its northern areas, mostly affluent and white, would vote for Trump, while its mostly black, lower-income southern section would largely support Clinton.

“There is a division in this town, economically and racial. And we saw that in this election,” said Bob Leath, 58, owner of Buckeye PC Repair who voted for Trump to “clean house” in Washington. “If you voted for Clinton, you were most likely either young, lower-income or from the south side of the area.”

For some, the tensions reach the bedroom. Sam Nail, a Cincinnati marriage counselor, said he has two couples who cited the election season as a “stressor” in their relationship.

Much of the anger gets uncorked on social media and will be hard to undo. Some is well publicized. National Review writer David French has written about “an unending torrent of abuse” he and his family faced online from white nationalist Trump supporters, including a Tweeted image of his 7-year-old daughter’s face in a gas chamber.

Others are less well known, like Brenda Thomas’ tangles with her older brother on Facebook. She says her brother unleashed a daily stream of Facebook posts on Clinton and President Barack Obama that she found objectionable. She said when her husband, a Republican, tried to reason with him, he was “unfriended” on Facebook.

“I feel that I have to walk on eggshells with him and it causes problems at family functions,” said Thomas, 63, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Karen Wilson, describes this election as “stressful” on Facebook. “I’ve got family members who are mad at me for deleting entire Facebook threads when I thought they were becoming too negative. I’ve deleted Facebook friends who I realized I never should have been friends with in the first place,” said Wilson, 43.

Fourteen percent of respondents in the /Ipsos poll said they had blocked a family member or close friend from social media because of the election. For Democrats, this rises to 23 percent compared to 8 percent for Republicans.

“FREE SPEECH ATTACK”

The divisions tore into the fabric of some communities. In Provo, Utah, Trump supporter Loy Brunson awoke on an October morning to find his car spray-painted with the words “AmeriKKKa” – a reference to “KKK” white supremacists – and “Fuck Trump.” His two Trump yard signs were destroyed.

“So I doubled down, got motivated and put up 85 signs in my yard,” he said. Within days, all but six of those were stolen.

“This was more than vandalism,” he said in an interview. “This was a free speech attack.”

Some blame the divisiveness on campaign rhetoric that inflamed racial, ethnic and class tensions that have long simmered in America. Angry and extremist language moved into the mainstream.

George Lakoff, a linguistics professor at University of California, Berkeley, blames Trump’s use of language, which he ranks as among the most violent of any candidate in modern times. He specifically notes Trump’s suggestion in August that gun rights activists could take matters into their own hands if Clinton defeated him, as well as the New York businessman’s comments that she should go to prison.

“When you have extremes of that order, you have extremes of anger, extremes of fear,” Lakoff said.

In Mississippi, Chad Scott, an activist in the Clay County Republican Party, fears a post-election split between the party’s working-class Trump supporters and business-minded elites – a sentiment echoed in Maine, where Foster, the Ellsworth resident at odds with his sisters, witnessed the election’s political vitriol first hand. 

Foster’s van was one of 20 vehicles spray-painted outside a Trump rally on Oct. 15 in the city of Bangor. And across Ellsworth, pro-Trump yard signs were stolen almost as fast as they were planted, Republican officials say.

Foster worries about the divisions ahead.

“My sisters will forgive me for my political views,” he said.  “But the country is going to be on fire.”

Trump presidency to create high anxiety among Asian allies

TOKYO/SEOUL ( ) – Republican Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election will deepen Asian allies’ anxiety about Washington’s commitment to post-war security arrangements in the face of a rising China and volatile North Korea, and could bolster calls from conservatives in Tokyo for a more robust defense policy.

Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and calls for allies to pay more of the cost for U.S. troops in the region or face their possible withdrawal have worried officials in some Asian capitals. So has his opposition to a 12-nation pan-Pacific trade pact that was a linchpin of Washington’s “pivot” to the region.

“We should expect dramatic changes in the security environment,” said South Korea’s ruling Saenuri Party floor leader Chung Jin-suk in parliament on Wednesday.

But he added: “In any case, there should not be any wavering in the Korea-U.S. military alliance, which has been the foundation of prosperity of this country.”

A Japanese government official, speaking before Trump clinched the election, urged the new president to send a reassuring message.

“The new president-elect should as soon as possible issue a statement reassuring the rest of the world that the strong commitment of the United States to its allies … remains strong and reliable,” said the official, who declined to be identified.

“We are certainly concerned about the comments (Trump) has made to date about the alliance and the U.S. role in the Pacific, particularly Japan,” the Japanese official said, although he added Trump’s policies might not match his rhetoric.

Trump has made several comments that disturbed Washington’s Asian allies, from insisting they must foot more of the two-way defense bill to suggesting it might be alright for Tokyo and Seoul develop nuclear arms capability.

FOOTING THE BILL

In an article criticizing U.S. President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia as “talking loudly but carrying a small stick” two Trump advisors said he would beef up the U.S. Navy while asserting it was “only fair” that Seoul and Tokyo pay more for defense.

“There is no question of Trump’s commitment to America’s Asian alliances as bedrocks of stability in the region,” wrote University of California professor Peter Navarro and Alexander Gray, a former advisor to U.S. politician Randy Forbes, in the article, which appeared in the Nov. 7 edition of Foreign Policy.

The article also criticized the Obama administration for failing to halt China’s aggressive maritime activities in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing has territorial rows with several countries in the region.

Trump has called for more ships for the U.S. Navy. The “mere initiation of the Trump naval program will reassure our allies that the United States remains committed in the long term to its traditional role as guarantor of the liberal order in Asia”, the authors said.

Trump’s approach to the North Asia security alliances could spark calls in Japan for a more independent security stance, although serious talk of acquiring nuclear weapons is unlikely to emerge in the only nation to suffer atomic bombings.

“I think they will have more legitimacy,” said a Japanese diplomat, referring to those seeking a more robust security stance. “But the Japanese public is reluctant to go in that direction and we don’t have the capacity in terms of budget or (military) personnel.”

TPP NOT JUST TRADE

Asian allies who joined the 12-nation Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, a linchpin of Obama’s Asia pivot, now fear the pact is dead, given Trump’s harsh opposition.

That has implications not only for trade, but security, since Washington and Tokyo had seen the TPP as way of creating a new regional rule-based architecture to counter China.

“TPP was not just a trade deal, it was the United States and Japan, together … these countries with shared values would create an advanced regional order with not just economic, but diplomatic and security implications,” said Toshihiro Nakayama, a professor at Keio University in Tokyo.

“It was a symbol of America being committed to the region.”

Singapore-based security expert Tim Huxley warned of a period of potentially destabilizing uncertainty ahead as the region waits for clearer strategic signs of precisely what a Trump presidency would mean for Asia.

“Unless Trump speaks reassuringly and soothingly about the continued U.S. presence and commitment to the region, I won’t be surprised to see long-held doubts awoken in the minds of many Asian leaders about the durability of the traditional U.S. role,” he said.

Policy-makers expect it will take considerable time for Trump to work out personnel appointments and get down to policy formation. Divisive U.S. politics could also slow things down. That could mean a worrisome vacuum, but also suggests no quick, dramatic changes are in store.

“It will take about half a year for Mr. Trump to firm up his foreign policies. He only has a transitio上海夜生活网n team of about 200 people and his first focus will be domestic policy,” said Masashi Adachi, head of the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s foreign policy panel.

“I don’t think there will be a big change in his stance toward Japan. He has said the Japan-U.S. alliance is important. What he is talking about is details like increasing what Japan pays for U.S. troops in Japan,” Adachi added.

Oil rebounds as Trump says letter revives China trade hopes

HOUSTON ( ) – Brent oil futures settled slightly higher on Thursday, rebounding from a drop after U.S. President Donald Trump revived investor hopes that the United States might not raise tariffs on Chinese imports, a step that could hit economic growth and crimp oil demand.

The trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies and a sharp drop in global equity markets has hit oil prices, outweighing geopolitical tensions and supply cuts that have lowered global supplies from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

Brent settled 2 cents higher at $70.39 a barrel, rebounding from a session low of $69.40 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled down 42 cents at $61.70 per barrel.

Prices bounced off session lows after Trump said he received a “beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump quoted the letter as saying: “Let’s work together let’s see if we can get something done.”

The letter fed investor hopes Washington and Beijing might clinch a trade deal, said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York.

The trade row has dragged economic growth in Asia and a breakdown in Sino-American negotiations could call global crude demand forecasts into question, said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management LLC.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects global oil demand to rise by 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd) this year.

“It’s why OPEC is being a bit stingy with barrels,” Kilduff said, referring to output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia. “They don’t want to step into that situation if the trade talks go off the rails.”

OPEC’s top producer Saudi Arabia has been reluctant to add barrels to global supply because it fears a price crash, even as the organization is unsure of global supplies for the second half of the year, OPEC sources said.

U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, and threats to oil supplies in Nigeria in Libya have supported oil prices, mitigating the impact of the trade dispute, analysts said. Brent and WTI have risen more than 30 percent so far this year.

“The supply uncertainty is what’s holding the (U.S. oil) market above $60 a barrel,” said Phillip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago. “The demand uncertainty is what has it in the red today. But we’re holding pretty good.”

Earlier this week, data showing a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories also buoyed prices.

The U.S. tariffs on $200 b上海夜生活论坛illion of Chinese goods would rise to 25 percent without a deal on Friday. China has threatened to retaliate, triggering a flight to safety among investors.

(Graphic: U.S. crude inventories, weekly changes since 2017 – tmsnrt.rs/2XfuQqn)

Wall Street weekahead: U.S. funds focus on media stocks, banks to find value as mid-caps rally

NEW YORK ( ) – The S&P 400 Mid-Cap index has surged to its best start to a year since 1991, both rewarding fund managers and forcing them to work harder to seek out bargains in a group that is now the most expensive part of the U.S. market based on their historical averages.

The rally in mid-cap stocks – companies with a market valuation between $2 billion and $10 billion – has come during a broad rally in global stock markets as investors price in a resolution in the trade talks between the United States and China and fewer interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

Mid-caps are up 14 percent for the year to date and sport an average price-to-earnings ratio of 16.9 times forward earnings, for their highest valuation premiums to small-cap stocks since 2017, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch research.

Yet fund managers from Janus Henderson, Hotchkis & Wiley, and Fairpointe Capital are among those who are still finding values by concentrating on financial, energy and media stocks and eschewing the high-priced real estate investment trusts and utility companies that make up nearly a fifth of the benchmark index.

“The window for the big bargain bin was the fourth quarter and that was about it,” said Kevin Preloger, a portfolio manager of the $3.3 billion Janus Henderson Mid Cap Value fund. “We’re looking for companies that have good balance sheets and good cash flow, but the tough part is reasonable valuations.”

Preloger’s fund i上海夜生活网s finding them in financial companies such as M&T Bank Corp and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc that are increasing their stock buybacks at the same time they have been beating analysts’ earnings expectations. Shares of M&T, for instance, are up 20.8 percent since the start of the year and trade at a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 11.8.

“Financials are the cheapest sector in the space, and their earnings are also growing,” Preloger said.

Stanley Majcher, a portfolio manager of the $1.4 billion Hotchkis & Wiley Mid-Cap Value fund, is buying into overlooked financial and energy stocks because he considers them less risky than utility companies or REITs with higher valuations.

“Energy is very out of favor and there’s a perception that it’s a risky business because oil prices are likely to be low for a long period of time because of the market share war between OPEC and the U.S.,” he said. “But we see low volatility of demand and more discipline on the supply side.”

Among its largest holdings, Majcher’s fund has several energy companies, including Whiting Petroleum Corp, Kosmos Energy Ltd and Ophir Energy PLC, according to Morningstar data, with mixed results for the year to date. Shares of Whiting are up 12.4 percent year-to-date, while shares of Ophir are up nearly 53 percent over the same time.

Thyra Zerhusen, a portfolio manager of the $2.6 billion AMG Managers Fairpointe Mid Cap fund, said her fund is finding opportunities in media stocks such as broadcast company Tegna Inc, which was spun off of Gannett Co, magazine and local broadcasting company Meredith Corp, and New York Times Co, all of which should see a significant boost in revenues from the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, she said.

“With everybody running for president, the political advertising goes to these smaller market stations. Newspapers are almost non-existent now,” except for the New York Times, which continues to grow its digital subscriptions, she said.

She is also adding opportunistic positions in companies such as Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp, which completed its merger with the transportation unit of General Electric Co on Feb. 25. Shares of the company are up 2.9 percent year-to-date, and remain 35 percent below where they were trading six months ago.

“We’re trying to add stocks where there may be a short-term problem hitting the share price but the long-term outlook looks okay,” she said.

Libya agrees $34 billion budget for 2019 after months of disputes

TRIPOLI ( ) – Libya’s U.N.-backed administration agreed with the central bank and other players on a 2019 budget worth 46.8 billion dinars ($33.83 billion), it said on Monday after months of arguments.

The “financial arrangements”, as the budget is called officially, mark an increase from last year’s 42 billion dinars.

Libya has no proper budget as authority is divided between the U.N.-backed Tripoli government and a parallel administration allied to the internationally recognized parliament in the east, part of a conflict since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The central bank therefore agrees with Tripoli – with the tacit agreement of authorities in the east mediated by Western powers and international institutions — on a budget mainly covering public salaries and fuel subsidies for the whole country.

The Tripoli government and the central bank had been arguing over how to use funds raised by a 183 per cent fees slapped on hard currency transactions since autumn. 

The fees are aimed at bridging a gap between official and black market rate by moving the official rate to effectively 3.9 versus one dollar. Before it was 1.4.

The上海夜网 black market rate has fallen since then to around 4.1 from 6.

“After extensive discussion a total value of the financial arrangements (of) 46.8 billion dinars was agreed upon,” the government said in a short statement. It gave no details.

METALS-Copper steady as economic concerns jostle with China demand hopes

* LME copper stocks 30 pct below levels last August

* Zinc stocks d上海夜生活own nearly 80 percent since August

* GRAPHIC-2019 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with official prices)

By Pratima Desai

LONDON, March 18 ( ) – Copper prices held steady on Monday, bolstered by expectations of seasonally strong Chinese demand in the second quarter and low stocks but capped by concern over the impact of continuing trade tensions on the global economy.

Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed little changed at $6,425 a tonne, down 0.1 percent, with prices having traded in a $200 range since the middle of February.

“The second quarter is normally the strongest in terms of physical activity; stocks are low and supply tightness is evident in metals like copper,” said Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar.

“Our concerns would be the macro overlay, slowing global growth and the unresolved U.S.-China trade dispute.”

CHINA: China accounts for about half of global demand for industrial metals, which increases in the April to June period because of restocking ahead of rising construction activity in the second quarter.

TRADE: Investor sentiment on trade has see-sawed on rumblings coming out of the negotiations between the world’s two biggest economies after the imposition of tit-for-tat tariffs.

“The uncertainty over U.S.-China trade could be decisive for industrial metals in the short term,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“We see renewed supply issues in some of the metals, copper and zinc, which could widen the market deficit. This leaves little room for replenishing depleted inventories.”

STOCKS: Copper inventories of 183,825 tonnes in LME-approved warehouses are up from less than 112,000 tonnes last Tuesday but still more than 30 percent below levels last August. MCUSTX-TOTAL

Higher stocks have shrunk the premium for the cash contract over three-month copper to about $30 a tonne from $70 in early March. CMCU0-3

ZINC: Stocks of zinc under LME warrant are down nearly 80 percent since August to less than 60,000 tonnes, creating a large premium for the cash contract over three-month metal. MZNSTX-TOTAL The premium was last at $50 a tonne. CMZN0-3

In contrast, stocks in warehouses monitored by the Shanghai Futures Exchange have climbed above 124,000 tonnes from around 20,000 tonnes at the end of last year. ZN-STX-SGH

Combined with an estimated 80,000 tonnes of zinc stocks in bonded warehouses in Shanghai, that takes the total in China to more than 200,000 tonnes.

PRICES: Aluminium closed 1.2 percent up at $1,920.50 a tonne, zinc dipped by 0.3 percent to $2,781, lead slipped by 1.1 percent to $2,040, tin added 0.5 percent to $21,175 and nickel firmed by 0.1 percent to $12,950.

PG&E close to reshaping leadership with investor backing: WSJ

( ) – PG&E Corp is close to naming a new chief executive officer and revamping its board backed by some of its largest investors, the Wall Street Journal said on Saturday, as the power utility restructures after filing for bankruptcy because of potential liabilities from California wildfires.

Bill Johnson, who is set to retire as the CEO of Tennessee Valley Authority in April, is the front-runner to get the top job at PG&E, the Journal reported.

PG&E has also made offers to 10 new independent board candidates and is expected to unveil the slate as soon as next week, saying it has significant shareholder support, according to the report.

Johnson’s new role, which could also be announced next week, has not yet been finalized and other candidates were still being interviewed, the newspaper added.

The utility filed for bankruptcy protection in January in anticipation of liabilities from the wildfires, including the catastrophic 2018 Camp Fire that killed 85 people.

PG&E declined to comment, while no one was available at U.S.-owned TVA to comment on Saturday.

A trio of activist investors, that together own nearly 10 percent of PG&E stock, has been working with the company to change its management, the Journal reported.

The three hedge funds, Abrams Capital Management LP, Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Redwood Capital Management LLC, said in a filing on Friday they had agreed with PG&E to work together to appoint a new CEO and refresh its board. bit.ly/2HqIxyM

The board slate 上海夜生活论坛they have helped PG&E assemble is expected to include experts on cyber security, nuclear security and restructurings, the Journal said.

PG&E’s previous CEO, Geisha Williams, stepped down in January after less than two years on the job.

Last month, the company said it expected only five of its current 10-strong board to stand for reelection at an annual shareholder meeting in May. It also said it expected the board to include 11 independent directors by the time of the meeting, without specifying how big the board would finally be.

The Journal said the efforts of the three investors are separate from those of another PG&E investor, BlueMountain Capital Management, which earlier in March named its own slate of 13 people it hopes to install as directors at the embattled power utility.

Preview: Bayern Munich – Hoffenheim

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Bayern Munich will host Hoffenheim in the 20th round of the Bundesliga. The Bavarians are on top of the table with 37 points, while Hoffenheim are 8 points behind, placed ninth.

Since the appointment of Jupp-Heynckes as the manager of the club, Bayern Munich have won 33 points in 12 games, while Hoffenheim have claimed just 13 points from the same number of games.

The Bundesliga champions have won their last five games, netting 20 goals in the process. Hoffenheim have won just one,上海夜生活网 drawn two and lost two.

While Bayern Munich’s boss Jupp Heynckes is the oldest in the league – 72, Hoffenheim’s boss is the youngest one – 30.

Players to watch: Thomas Muller netted his 100th goal for the club last week. A curious fact is that the Bavarians have not lost a game in which the German has scored. 78 games – 74 wins and 4 draws. Meanwhile, Sandro Wagner can make an appearance and punish his former team-mates, having joined Bayern Munich earlier in the January transfer window from Hoffenheim.Neuer & Ter Stegen to share Germany goalkeeping duties Andrew Smyth – Joachim Low has announced that he will select both goalkeepers Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen for Germany during this month’s international break.

Missing players:

Bayern Munich: Neuer M.(leg injury).

Under question:

Bayern Munich: Alcantara(thigh injury), Fruchtl(ankle injury), Hummels (groin injury).

Hoffenheim: Akpoguma (injury), Demirbay (thigh injury), Kobel G. (illness).

Zidane annoyed by Kepa’s situation

Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid head coach, spoke about his side’s failed transfer talks with Kepa Arrizabalaga as the young Spaniard decided to sign a new contract with Athletic Bilbao instead of moving to Madrid.

The Frenchman coach said that he is “annoyed” by the rumours saying that he won some kind of an internal battle and he decided not to sign this young and talented keeper. Arrizabalaga admitted that he was annoyed as well by the long negotiations and he decided to sign a new deal with his current club which will end in 2025.上海夜生活

The French coach spoke about this transfer saga as he said, according to ESPN: “In June any player can come to Madrid, if the club’s strategy is to change something, along with the coach. But my idea and that of the club too as we are all together here was to not change many things. I get annoyed when I hear comments saying I have won [an internal battle]. The important thing for me is to protect my squad, the players here are those who concern me. But I have nothing against Kepa or any other player.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He continued by adding that Ronaldo’s reaction after his facial injury was understandable: “Cristiano wanted to know whether the cut was very deep or not. I am saying exactly what he told us in the dressing room. The doctors stitched it up and today he was back. If he is training with us, with his eye like this [swollen] it shows how important it is for him to be on the pitch.”

In the end, Zinedine Zidane claimed that he is happy that he can rely on Isco: “Isco will always have an important role here, whether I am coach or not. I have always shown my confidence in him, he can be a decisive player. That will not change. He did not get any time [before Christmas] against Barcelona, although that was not the plan. Isco can play in many positions, in a 4-3-3 he can play up front, as he has done before, or in midfield. So there is no problem.”

P\u00e9rez believes Madrid move will boost Neymar’s Ballon d’Or chances

Los Blancos’ boss has hinted the Brazilian would have more possibility to flourish at the Bernabéu.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez believes Neymar will have a better shot at winning the Ballon d’Or award if he joins the reigning La Liga and Champions League champions.

The former Barca man moved to Paris Saint-Germain during the summer transfer window in a record-breaking move worth €222m. The main reason, according to a number of news outlets, is the fact that the Brazilian wanted to get out of the shadow of Lionel Messi, which would give him a better chance to establish himself as the best footballer in the world.Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Gi上海夜网ven how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

Even though Neymar has been tremendous on the pitch for the Parisians, various reports in France suggest that the Brazilian is not happy at Parc des Princes due to the way Unai Emery is operating. The Brazilian has also been tipped for a shocking Real Madrid move, which Pérez believes would be beneficial for the 25-year-old if he is to persue the Ballon d’Or award.

“Being in Madrid would make it easier to win the Ballon d’Or.” Pérez said, according to Goal.

“Real Madrid is a club which gives all you need as a big player, everyone knows that I already wanted to sign him at one point.”

Clattenburg talks about Premier League leave

The 42-year-old revealed what caused him to quit his job in England and go through a change of scenery.

Mark Clattenburg insists he made up his mind to give up on being a referee in England following a game between Stoke City and Manchester United. After the final whistle, the Red Devils’ boss went to the officials’ dressing room and questioned Clattenburg’s penalty decision, which got to the Englishman.

The 42-year-old referee is now working as head for refereeing at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation after a 13-year spell in England.

While on the Men in Blazers podcast, Clattenburg spoke about his decision to leave the Premier League and start over somewhere else.

“I was refereeing the game when Wayne Rooney broke Bobby Charlton’s record and Mourinho came into my dressing room and he was unhappy about a handball penalty that I didn’t give.Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

“I’d walked off that pitch at Stoke, which was always the coldest stadium, it was always wet and miserable, and refereeing Man United was never an easy match.

“To come off that match it felt immense that I’d actuall上海夜网y had a good performance, and for him to come into my dressing room and criticise my performance for a handball that I’d seen, that had clearly come off his chest, I knew that I was right but he’d put a seed of doubt into my mind.

“I drove home 250 miles thinking I’d made a big error, my wife knew my attitude had changed, and I thought to myself, ‘Do I really want to be a part of this anymore? Do I really want to referee?’

“And I went soul-searching, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to and I had to get out.”

Muller continues the attacks on Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti has left Bayern Munich after multiple players complained about his methods.

After the appointing of Jupp Heynckes, some of Bayern’s players are still hitting out at their former manager. Most recently, Thomas Muller stated that he is certain the arrival of Heynckes will bring a revival in the team’s playing style.

The German midfielder was, along with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, decisive for the departure of Carlo Ancelotti, after the 3-0 defeat to PSG in Champions League.Report: Ancelotti’s Napoli held by Genk George Patchias – Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli side was held to a scoreless draw by Belgian side Genk.This game was billed as a goal fest for the Italian…

Immediately after the appointing of Heynckes, one of the first reactions of Muller was: “Finally we will have good training sessions again”, hinting at the low quality of trainings under Ancelotti.

Speaking about the managerial change, Thomas Muller said: “Now we have no excuses. A change of manager always brings energy and we, the players, have to give everything. Both Jupp Heynckes and his staff came with a lot of energy to trainings from the beginning.” 

Bayern’s first match 上海夜网with Heynckes on the bench is to be played on Saturday, 15:30. The Bavarians will host Freiburg at Allianz Arena. Bayern are currently second in the standings, with 14 points after 7 rounds, five less than Bundesliga leaders, Borussia Dortmund.

Toshack uncertain of Bale’s future in Spain

The Wales international has been struggling with injuries ever since arriving at the Bernabéu.

Gareth Bale’s inconsistent fitness situation is making things really difficult for the club and could lead to a transfer, according to former Wales and Real Madrid boss John Toshack.

Bale is currently going through his 18th injury that has forced him on the sidelines since joining Real Madrid from Tottenham in 2013. The Welshman has certainly enjoyed successful times at his new club, securing three Champions League trophies and a La Liga trophy, but his inability to stay available for the first squad is proving to be a problem for Los Blancos. This has caused a lot of controversy regarding his future in Spain, with Manchester United considered a long-time admirer of the winger.

“His injuries are probably hindering him now.” Toshack told El Larguero regarding Bale’s situation.

“He has missed so many matches and despite Madrid winning so many matches and trophies, i上海夜生活t must be hugely frustrating.Juan Mata backs Solskjaer to end Man United’s trophy drought Andrew Smyth – Juan Mata is convinced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will end Manchester United’s trophy-drought sooner rather than later.

“Should he move to another club? Only people at Madrid will know about this but the demands at the Bernabéu are very, very high.

“If you are less than 100 per cent physically fit, it becomes even harder.

“He is now 28 and 11 years after making his debut with me at 17, these should be the best years of his life.

“The entire BBC [Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo] now has problems and for various reasons, such as others now coming through, I’m unsure we’ll see much more of them together from now on.”

Preview: Inter – Atalanta

Inter are fourth in Serie A, five points behind leaders Napoli and they will be looking to close the gap today, as they host 10th-placed Atalanta.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Sunday’s late game features 2 sides with different aspirations this season. Atalanta will be looking to improve on their current 10th place standing (16pts) in their quest to qualify for Europe again, w上海夜生活论坛hile 3rd placed Inter (30 pts) are having their best season in many years and can once again dream of Scudetto glory. These sides first met in Serie A in the 1937/38 season.

Inter are unbeaten in Serie A this season and have undoubtedly benefited from a lack of European football. Inter have scored at least 1 goal in all but one of their 12 games this season, and that game was a 0-0 away to league leaders Napoli.

Mauro Icardi has been in fine form for Inter this season, racking up 11 goals (joint 2nd in Serie A), although he has failed to score in his last 2 games. He actually scored a 10-minute hattrick last season against Atalanta in a 7-1 romp.

Inter drew their last game 1-1 at home to Torino, but the last time they drew 2 consecutive home games was back in April ’15 (part of a 3-game streak) – a run of 48 games.

The team from the San Siro top the corner charts in Serie A with an average of 12.83 corners per game, which is also the second highest in Europe’s major leagues.Report: Lukaku out of Barcelona game George Patchias – Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out of Inter Milan’s game against Barcelona at the Camp Nou.Inter Milan face Barcelona tomorrow evening at the Camp…

Atalanta are playing European football for the first time in 27 years this season and currently sit top of their Europa League group. They have an important game away at Everton on Thursday and their Serie A form (no win in the last 2) has undoubtedly suffered due to their focus on Europe.

Along with Chievo, Atalanta have a symmetrical record of 4 wins, 4 draws and 4 defeats this season. They are yet to win away this season (D2 L3) and have lost on their last 3 visits to Inter.

On balance, you are more likely to see second-half goals in this game. Both teams have scored 9 goals in the first half of their Serie A matches this season. Inter have gone on to score another 14 in the second half of their games while Atalanta have managed 10.

Missing players

Inter: Z. Vanheusden (knee injury), A. Pinamonti (doubtful).

Atalanta: R. Freuler (red card), L. Spinazzola (muscle injury), J. Schmidt (doubtful).

Griezmann: “I don’t regret staying in Madrid”

Antoine Griezmann has been struggling to perform properly this season so far but when asked whether he regrets not leaving Atletico or not, he insisted that he is still happy in Madrid and not thinking about leaving this winter.

The Frenchman has been constantly linked with a move away from Diego Simeone’s side, who are 10 points off La Liga leaders Barcelona and are on the brink of exiting the Champions League at the group stages, according to Sky Sports. Barcelona and Manchester United are said to be heavily interested in signing the Frenchman but the situation still remains unclear.

The former Real Sociedad player spoke about his situation as he said: “I do not regret having stayed at Atletico. It was my choice, I am happy with my choice, even though I have gone seven games without scoring. I will score again soon. In addition, Diego Costa and Vitolo will come, so we’ll try to keep the team high enough. These two reinforcements will do us good. An exit agreement? I did not speak about that with the president.”Joao Felix keeps making history with Atletico Madrid Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – After yet another stellar performance with Atletico Madrid, Joao Felix made history after scoring his first goal vs Lokomotiv.Atletico Madrid had a complicated visit…

He also made a comment on the rumours connecting him with Manchester United: “I didn’t express myself very well. It’s like the other day, with the game “Yes or No”, when they asked me: ‘Would you like to play with Mbappe and Neymar?’ I answered yes but that does not mean that I want to go to PSG.”

In the end, Antoine Griezmann added: “I’m happy with all my performances with the national team but with only two or three Atletico matches. I have to improve and find my best form. It depends on me, how I train and work. There are games where I 上海夜生活don’t even get one shot on target and that’s my problem. I have to work to take the team to the top.”

Hodgson knows that just the spirit is not enough

It’s going to be a very difficult task to save Crystal Palace and everybody knows it – and their coach, Ryan Hodgson, is sure that his team will need much more than just the spirit as they have to show also a quality.

Just four points after ten games – what a terrible record for Hodgson’s side. The experienced Englishman improved the results of his side after his arrival but it’s not enough as his Crystal Palace are about to face Tottenham this weekend and it’s going to be really difficult – the Spurs beat Real Madrid this week and they are in a good shape.

Hodgson spoke about his team’s attitude before the upcoming match as he said, according to Sky Sports: “I’ve not seen any signs of a lack of fighting spirit even from the moment I was appointed, and I don’t think from what I have seen from the training sessions that there is any lack of desire on the part of the players to give their absolute all to help the club get out of the situation it finds itself in.”Wijnaldu上海夜生活m looking to repeat Champions League success Nedim Maric – Liverpool are the reigning winners of the Champions League. However, this isn’t stopping them for aiming to get the glory once again.After a perfect…

But he knows that it’s not enough and they have to improve a lot in other aspects: “But unfortunately fighting spirit alone is not enough. You have got to play some good football along the way, you have got to defend well and you have got to attack well. They are the things that the players, in my opinion at least, are trying to do in their everyday training sessions.”

The former Liverpool coach also praised Wilfried Zaha for his contribution after coming back from injury: “The players that get singled out are at the business end of the field, the goalkeepers at one end and the centre-forwards at the other. The goal scorers are always going to be the ones that people talk about and I’m more than happy to do that. Since Wilf Zaha has been in back in training and back playing for us he has added something to our team. He has given us another dimension, another possibility.”

Frustrated Sanchez lashes out at the press

The Chilean was having none of it following  a huge blow on his country’s chances to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Alexis Sanchez was highly upset with journalists following Chile’s 1-0 defeat to Bolivia in South America’s qualifiers for the World Cup.

The Arsenal player has had a horrible summer after his desired move to Manchester City fell apart and now Chile has suffered to defeats, which significantly lowers their chances of making it to Russia next year. The 28-year-old took it to social media to express his frustration with the situation.

“And there comes the time when you get tired,” he said on Instagram.

“You get tired when you are criticised with or without reason, you get tired when people want to see you defeated.Antonio Conte determined to find Alexis Sanchez’s brilliance Andrew Smyth – Antonio Conte is on a mission to help Alexis Sanchez rediscover his old brilliance, and promised the Inter Milan loanee more game time.

“You get tired to tell yourself ‘I will get up again’ after crying about a defeat, and you get tired telling the world and the people that are with you that everything is okay.

“And the worst thing is, no one ever realises how that makes you feel… I have Chile’s number 7 and it is a huge responsib上海夜生活网ility, that’s why it is a shame that journalists and bad people criticise without knowing.”

Ke\u00efta unlikely to extend RB Leipzig spell

RB Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick admitted he does not believe the midfielder will r上海夜生活enew his contract.

Naby Keïta has attracted a lot of attention towards himself as Premier League side Liverpool were highly interested in his services. Klopp’s team reportedly submitted two bids for the player, but RB Leipzig rejected both as they never changed their stance about not selling the Guinea international.

While Rangnick is certain he can rely on Keïta in the upcoming 2017-18 campaign, he does not seem so sure about relying on Keïta once the season is over.

Speaking to SportBILD, he said:

“I am not currently assuming that we will be able to extend his contract prematurely,Top 5 – Performers in Bundesliga this weekend Boro Tanchev – The fifth Bundesliga round is not over yet, but we have to name our the top 5 performers in top-flight German football over the past weekend.

“I can assure you that Naby will be playing with us this season. All other scenarios also depend on how we do this season, how Naby plays himself and so on.”

RB Leipzig had an outstanding campaign as they finished second in the Bundesliga and qualified for the champions league. Their coach insists that the club will not just sell players, they have been developing for years right before the club’s debut in the Champions League.

“It does not matter at all whether it’s £67million or £90million,” Rangnick added. “We have not developed for five years so that we can lose one of our best players in the first Champions League season.”

“That would make no sense. We want to be successful in sports.”